Australia, Transport News

NatRoad calls for tolls multiplier to be slashed for NSW trucks

NatRoad has listed points it wants the NSW government to introduce to relieve the toll road burden on trucking and freight operators

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has lodged an eight-point “log of claims” with the New South Wales Tolling Inquiry, calling for a “fairer go” for truckies on the state’s motorways as part of its latest submission.

The submission recommendations include slashing the cost recovery “toll multiplier” between cars and trucks from three-times to two-times, with exemptions for Euro VI or zero emissions heavy vehicles and toll discounts for off-peak or multiple journeys.

NatRoad’s recommendations for the NSW government include setting the multiplier cap of two times the light vehicle tolls while moving all new tolling concessions and variations to this pricing principle while also expanding on commitments to reduce the multiplier to two times on the M5 East and M8 for existing toll road concessions.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says tolls on heavy vehicles on most of the privately-operated network are set using a “three times the cost of passenger cars” multiplier.

“It’s simply too much and the multiplier is well above the cost of road upkeep and damage incurred by trucks,” Clark says.

“There is no priority placed on transport planning outcomes and creating liveable urban communities by seeking to incentivise goods movement on motorways.

“There is no understanding of commercial realities – higher tolls on trucks are justified by claims of the higher value of time savings, which do not stack up to scrutiny.”

NatRoad is also calling on the state government to introduce a lower variable truck toll rate to incentivise off-peak journeys, introducing discounts for multiple truck toll journeys, exempting zero-emissions heavy vehicles for the multiplier and consulting on regulatory options for requiring the customers of road freight operators to pay for tolls on top of the cost of freight transport services.

Finally, NatRoad wants the NSW government to establish in independent regulator to assess and approve new and varied tolling concessions and their pricing arrangements for road users.

Clark says the lesson of the pandemic and related supply chain crisis was that trucking is an essential industry.

“Private toll road operators (with government agreement) are directly contributing to making a difficult business environment even worse, with impacts on the viability and safety of small business operators,” he says.

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